Hidrotec Tratamiento de Aguas, a Cartagena company working on desalination and making salty water and seawater drinkable, has built many facilities over the years. With over 25 years experience in the sector, the company runs the oldest desalination plants in the area that in most cases are still using their original membranes, meaning that these facilities have been enormously profitable and the percentage of the cost per cubic metre of water to pay off the membranes is very low.

This is clearly achieved thanks to two fundamental factors, firstly the quality of the physical pre-treatment (sand filters and microfilters) and secondly, and most importantly, the quality of the chemical product, fundamentally used to inhibit salt precipitation. The phosphoric acid content of this product also plays a fundamental role, acting as an antioxidant and protecting the polyamide. It is similar to good cholesterol that clears out the bad version from your arteries where in this case, the bad part is the phosphoric acid that is generated in a meticulous process to produce the actual precipitation inhibitor.

Due to the spread of this type of product, not always from a recommended source, membranes are subject to gradual ageing that might be accelerated, or not, by a variety of factors. To continue comparing it to cholesterol, it is as if we were eating pastries made with trans-fats everyday rather than olive oil that might have helped us clear out these “harmful” fats. We’d be in a bad way but in both cases, the damage is not done overnight but rather more slowly and inexorably. It is fair to say our case is easier to tackle than cleaning up the human body, as it can be resolved with new membranes at the consequent economic cost for the facility owner.

This information is endorsed by the study that interested parties, including membrane and chemical product manufacturers, carry out on the precipitation inhibitors used in the area, coming to these interesting conclusions: primary material is lacking and contains impurities and deficient final production leading to undesired compounds.

It all adds up because in the end, between shortening the useful life of membranes and in many cases, the need or sometimes the oversight of excessive dispensing, money slips through our fingers but as this happens little by little, we do not give it a second thought.
At Hidrotec, we are delighted to be able to offer you advice on optimising your facilities without demanding any type of commitment, thereby offering you the resources required to make sure you are getting the most out of your equipment.